This book is a long time coming as it brings together many of my long form poems dating back to the late 1990s that I have shared on this poetry blog BACKYARD POETRY and in smaller pieces on Twitter as @gpwriter.
I initially fell in love with writing poetry in college while attending California State University Long Beach in the mid-1980s. Sure, I had read a lot of poetry in high school, but I never dared to write it. During two poetry classes at CSULB, I was not only asked to try my hand at poetic verse, but I also learned the basics and poetry rules. The responses to my poetry in these classes was promising, but after leaving college I abandoned writing poetry (or anything except journalism stories) for 13 years. In spring 1998, I finally broke through my fear of writing and tried my hand at poetry once again. What followed was a torrent of poetic words that are the basis for this poetry collection.
Twitter has also been a revelation for my poetic muse allowing me to share my work and gauge immediate reaction. Overall, the reaction to my Twitter poetry has been inspiring, but this collection returns me to my original goal of publishing my expanded poems. I initially sent an earlier version of this collection to various literary publications and publishers who responded with indifference or even snobby hostility. The inspiration for my poem BACKYARD POETRY came after a snotty note from some poetry editor, criticizing the honest and political nature of my poems.
So, in the following collection, you will not find poems that adhere to poetic convention either in subject matter or execution. I believe literary rules are meant to be broken.
In my poems, I explore controversial subjects of modern life in intriguing ways such as wondering if the Crucifixion would have been televised, or reimaging ethnic cleansing and Guantanamo Bay as the subject of sardonic ads. My challenging poetic works feature the same honest, unflinching style and prose as my novels MONOGAMY SUCKS, RELATIONSHIPS SUCK and DEAR HEF.
Above all, it is collection seeking to strip away poetic pretensions.
Or as I write in the first stanza of the title poem BACKYARD POETRY, “I despise the poetry of exclusion.”
Kudos also to graphic artist Dancinee Jennings for putting together the book’s cover. She has also created covers for my previous novels, MONOGAMY SUCKS, RELATIONSHIPS SUCK and DEAF HEF.
BACKYARD POETRY will be the first of many poetry collections I will be launching in the coming years.